50 years ago today (Nov 1st) Adge and his Wurzels were at the Royal Oak in Nailsea with EMI recording their first album – were you there? What a night it was!
So how better to celebrate that occasion than to play the song that started it all, the national anthem of North Somerset, ‘Drink Up Thy Zider’ – BUT we have a bit of a wurzel’n twist - this version is the one recorded at the Royal Oak not in 1966 but in the previous decade in 1958!
Only one copy was ever made – directly recorded as the song was sung – again with a large raucous audience, gallons of scrumpy and with Adge’s mate Acker Bilk singing along as well! Not the best of quality after all these years but a unique record of how long dear old Adge has been entertaining us all!
Thanks again to Adge’s family for allowing the release of this wonderful insight into Adge’s talents and fun loving approach to scrumpy and western music!
Exclusive Treat 2 - ‘Adge Unplugged’
November 2nd will see the 50th anniversary of Adge Cutler and the Wurzels recording their first LP at the Royal Oak in Nailsea. Over the next few weeks we have 3 very special news items for you!
This week Professor Wurzel is returning to Adge’s rehearsal tape. The tape is full of wonderful variations of ‘Pill,Pill’, ‘Somerset’s Joined In The Space Race’ and other favourites.
There is also a session where the band are rehearsing with a new member of the band – a certain Tommy Banner – showing him the ropes and teaching him the lingo.
Tommy can also be heard playing the piano as Adge sings his ‘ Nempnett Thrubwell’ – a song that didn’t appear on record until the Wurzels put it on their ‘Combine Harvester’ LP.
The tape also has snippets of unfinished songs such as the little bit you can hear here – just Adge ‘unplugged’ in another of his ‘sloppy and sentimental’ numbers. Listen and enjoy. ‘I Can’t Get Along Without You’. -Prof. Wurzel
Exclusive Treat 1 - ‘In The Haymaking Time’
In the mid-sixties Adge would regularly practice for his gigs and rehearse new songs with the band over the Midland Road pub in Bristol, a pub whose landlord, Reg Chant was one of Adge’s original Wurzels.
Many of these sessions were recorded on an old Grundig cassette tape, Adge using the same tape over and over again.
This tape has survived in the family archives and makes wonderful listening – Adge at his relaxed best having fun, ad-libbing and playing as his mood took him, but at the same time he's clearly a serious and talented musician with great attention being paid to the detail and never loosing that great sense of humour that was his trademark in life.
This week’s treat – heard for the very first time with thanks due to the family for allowing this - is a short extract from this tape - a very polished and gentle rehearsal of ‘In The Haymaking Time’ - played by Adge from the early 60’s onwards but not put on album until 1968 when it appeared on his ‘Cutler of the West’ LP.
Adge himself described this as one of his ‘sloppy and sentimental songs’!
So, here it is, listen and enjoy this snippet of Adge at his sloppy and sentimental best! -Prof. Wurzel
A tribute to a wonderful wife...
It is with great sadness in my heart that I am writing this piece to-day.
Sadly, after many years of illness, on 14th February, Valentine’s Day, my lovely wife Chris (Christine) passed away very peacefully in Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.
The reason we as a family have left it until now to make this sad news known to all of you wonderful Wurzel followers, was very personal, but we feel the time is right, now, as Friday 7th October would have been Chris’s birthday.
Because many of you knew her and knew that she was not well, just recently more and more of you have been asking about her welfare, and when I tell you, I can see you feel very awkward and almost embarrassed to have asked me. Please don’t feel like this, I fully understand the shock you must get when I tell you.
Chris had always lived for her family, always been unselfish, and in the long years of her illness, so brave, and in those seven years she never uttered one word of complaint. One Very Strong Lady!! She was the perfect patient, and I can tell you, patience was not one of her virtues.
On a personal note I would like to thank my family, friends, carers, The Wurzels team – Pete, John, Sedge, Mike and Louie – our Management team Sil and Al, and our website team, Marcus and Jonathan for all of their support throughout those years of Chris’s suffering. Without their support and that of you, our many brilliant fans at shows, I would not have been able to “keep Wurzeling” throughout the seven years of Chris’s illness. And that’s what she wanted me to do.
On behalf of myself and my family I thank you so much.
The Wurzels celebrated by top Bristol actors in BBC programme
Stars of Broadchurch and Call the Midwife present Inside Out West film to mark the 50th anniversary of the West Country music legends
An Inside Out West film will broadcast on Monday 8th February at 7.30pm, BBC One celebrating the 50th anniversary of “Scrumpy and Western” band The Wurzels, founded by the late Adge Cutler.
The film has been made by Bristolian actors Joe Sims (who plays Nige in ITV’s Broadchurch) and Jack Ashton (Tom the curate in Call the Midwife) who are close friends and share a love of the West Country music legends.
Joe said: “I went to see The Wurzels for the first time at the Bristol Bierkeller in about 1997 I think. Sorry mum I was a bit too young to go down there at the time but I snuck in and had an absolute whale of a time. I was a fan from there on in and long may they reign.
“I think The Wurzels epitomise everything that is good about the West Country. They are good light-hearted fun. In a world where we often take ourselves too seriously and we are always worried about this and that it is about taking time to smell the roses and I think that is what the Wurzels do so well led initially of course by Adge and then that mantle taken over by Pete Budd and Tommy Banner and the rest.”
“The Wurzels include everybody and I think that’s the take home message - it doesn’t matter whether you are from Yeovil or Taunton, whether you are from Bristol, you just come in grab yourself a pint of cider and you’re welcome and that is a lovely message for West Country people the world over.”
Jack said: “Being Bristolian I am a massive fan of The Wurzels. When I first went to drama school in London my Wurzels album was in pride of place in my bedroom. Whenever I was feeling a bit homesick I would stick the Wurzels on and I would feel a bit better.
”It is not just about their number one hit Combine Harvester which everybody knows but the rest of their repertoire of songs as well about the countryside and about people and places around Bristol and Somerset.”
Jack and Joe are both Bristol City fans and the Wurzels songs are played by the club at Ashton Gate and sung by the crowd.
In the Inside Out West film Jack and Joe meet the Wurzels and sing and dance along with the rest of the fans at a gig at the famous live music venue Dingwalls at Camden Lock in London where the two actors are based.
BBC Inside Out West, BBC One Monday February 8th 7.30pm
A history of BBC appearances by Adge Cutler & The Wurzels...
For the first time ever yer’s a full listing of all the times our dear old Adge Cutler appeared on the BBC with his legends of the West Country ‘The Wurzels’.
The BBC have done a modern thing with their Radio Times and digitised them – which means Professor Wurzel has been able to pull out all the programmes on the wireless and the telly that Adge and the Wurzels appeared in from 1967 until 1974.
Read and reminisce (if yer old enough!)!
And if you click on the programme titles you can reach the original BBC site and read even more about the programmes on that day.
Lucky Wurzels fan uncovers ‘lost’ Adge Cutler recording...
A keen Wurzels fan has uncovered a unique and, until now, presumed lost test recording that Adge made with his Wurzels in 1966 at EMI’s Abbey Road, Studio 2. The recording, made on a metal disc with wax-like coating, was machined directly from the demo tapes laid down in the studio to persuade the EMI chairman Joseph Lockwood into giving the band a recording contract. The story is told well in Adge’s recent biography by John Hudson:
- In 1966 John Miles, Adge’s first manager, already had a few groups under his wing so he managed to persuade EMIs record producer Bob Barrett that this local west country band were worth a try. Bob was always up for something different, and so when John told him about the Wurzels with his well-rehearsed cider and manure line, he booked studio 2 at Abbey Road (home to the Beatles.)
"We’d got props, milk churns and bales of straw and so on, packed them all into the van" he said.
"When we were on the outskirts of London I stopped the van and told them to get into their Wurzel gear, with Adge muttering that it was all bloody ridiculous!
When we drove into Abbey Road they all jumped out, I pushed this milk churn and it bounced on the tarmac, straw was blowing everywhere in the wind, and up in the windows all the secretaries were looking out wondering what on earth was happening”. After the kerfuffle died down somewhat and the band were taking their equipment into the studio, John Miles saw a grey-haired, charismatic looking sort of chap talking to Bob Barratt. Bob then brought him over and said to me "I'd like to introduce you to the chairman of EMI, Sir Joseph Lockwood." He said "John, Bob has been telling me about "Adge Cutler and the Wurzels, and I've asked him to let me have the tapes at the end of the day"
I told the boys the news, and urged them to do a good job. They did, Adge sang all his numbers, and a few day later Bob said the chairman had told him the Wurzels had to be signed.-
The original tapes have long been thought lost - and the two tracks ‘Champion Dung Spreader’ and ‘Twice Daily’ appearing on the recently discovered disc are probably all that remains from the Abbey Road session. The lucky handful of people who have been privileged to listen to the songs all agree that they show Adge at his very best – both tracks are upbeat, lively and clear with Adge clearly relaxed in surroundings more formal than he was used to in the local pubs of Somerset! Interestingly, both songs are slightly different than later recordings that he made – the lyrics being those he meticulously laid down in his 1965 diary - they underwent some changes before they appeared on his first album and singles.
December 1966 – the world would never be the same again! A band of strangely dressed men with odd looking instruments leapt on stage at the ‘Royal Oak Inn’ Nailsea, Somerset and proceeded to record a ‘live’ album for the EMI record company. This was Adge Cutler & The Wurzels’ first LP and it sold in massive numbers, quickly followed by a single which charted nationally and then an EP “Scrumpy & Western” – this was the start of a musical revolution that is still going strong nearly 50 years later!
'A Load More Bullocks' - Out
much anticipated follow up album to the hugely
successful 'Never Mind The Bullocks' is available
on CD from HMV and leading retailers. Also available
on download from Amazon,
& other download retailers.
features wurzelised versions of:
2. Up All Night
4. Chelsea Dagger
5. Golden Brown
6. Common People
7. Sowing the Seeds of Love
8. Go West
9. Sex Farm
10. Ode to Adge